As Mid-Atlantic/Central Appalachians Division Director, Elizabeth Gray provides strategic oversight of conservation programs, fundraising (including $254M in conservation campaigns), finance, policy and operations across eight state-based programs (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland/District of Columbia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia). Elizabeth also chairs North America’s Climate Adaptation steering committee and is an inaugural member of the global Gender Equity Advisory Council, which advises the CEO, President and COO/General Counsel on gender issues across the organization.
Elizabeth is passionate about transforming local conservation efforts into global impact. During her 19-year tenure with The Nature Conservancy, Elizabeth has held a number of roles nationwide and globally, including Washington Director of Science, Pacific North America Science and Conservation Director, Global Climate Change Fellow, and Executive Director of Maryland/DC. During this time, Elizabeth’s leadership has been pivotal to a number of achievements, including establishing a center of scientific excellence which launched “Floodplains by Design” and the science underlying “Migrations in Motion”; serving as a global spokesperson for the Conservancy’s climate change work at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa; completing the largest oyster restoration project in the world; raising brand awareness of the organization in two years by 52% ; and launching the Conservancy’s first urban conservation program in Washington, D.C.
Growing up in the DC metro area, Elizabeth was thrilled to move back to the region after spending 25 years working in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, east Africa, Hawaii and the West Coast. “I grew up along the Potomac River,” she says, “This is where I first developed my love of nature and it has shaped how I value and relate to the natural world to this day.”
Elizabeth was awarded a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Washington and an A.B. with highest honors in psychology from Harvard University. She is also an independent certified professional coach, responsible for developing top talent in global organizations.